Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oklahoma bungled execution used vein in groin area

The state of Oklahoma has halted executions after a grotesque execution attempt ended with the death of an inmate after nearly 45 minutes from a heart attack. Medical staff said they couldn't find a vein in the inmate's arm so they injected the supposedly deadly drug cocktail into his groin but it leaked.
Because the injection was made in the groin area the medical staff had to up cover up the site so witnesses would not see, Associated Press reported.
As a result it was only discovered after 21 minutes that the IV was leaking, Associated Press reported. That meant some of the drugs did not enter inmate Clayton Lockett’s body.
When a doctor lifted the cover it was discovered all the drugs had been delivered and there was no suitable vein to increase the dose.

The body of inmate Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer, has been sent to Texas for an independent autopsy.
Corrections Department Director Robert Patton said medical staff had to use his groin area because no suitable vein could be found elsewhere. Lockett’s lawyer said his client was a big man with big arms and the idea that a vein couldn’t be found was ludicrous.
It was unclear why when it became obvious that the lethal injection wasn’t working, and the execution halted, whether any effort was made to resuscitate Lockett.
Witnesses said after Lockett began writhing in pain on the gurney the curtain on the window of the execution chamber was closed. He reportedl said several things, including "something is wrong."
It is the latest round in a death penalty narrative that includes several bungled executions, a result of the unwillingness of drug manufacturers to provide the medications used in the past. European countries, the chief source, have refused to export them to the US because they could be used for executions. The death penalty is not used in Europe.
The refusal to sell the drugs has caused states to scramble to get them, and to try untested drugs. Oklahoma keeps the drugs it uses a secret, and buys them with cash so they cannot be traced.
There was no official word on what drugs were used Tuesday night, though one was believed to be midazolam.
It is a member of the Benzodiazepine class, which includes the more commonly known Xanax. And it used to sedate patients before surgery and other medical procedures.
The state provided a timeline of events on the day Lockett and a second black inmate were to be executed by lethal injection.
The state postponed the execution of the second inmate and the government declared a moratorium on executions.
The botched execution was condemned not only by death penalty opponents but also President Obama.
“We have a fundamental standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out humanely,” Jay Carney [Unlink], the White House press secretary, said Wednesday during a briefing. “And I think everyone would recognize that this case fell short of that standard.”
The Washington Post reported: “In Oklahoma’s haste to conduct a science experiment on two men behind a veil of secrecy, our state has disgraced itself before the nation and world,’’ said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma.
Earlier in the day prison staff had Tasered the inmate.
The New York Times said no one believed Oklahoma would allow a truly independent investigation of the incident, which it called the "death by torture ... (that) shocked the conscience of the nation and the world on Tuesday night?
"It was Gov. (Mary) Fallin’s insistent demand for speed in killing Clayton Lockett that forced the state to use an untested mixture of toxic chemicals in the execution, during which Mr. Lockett sat up, moaned and writhed in pain."
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